Hello, I get thousands of calls a week about my column. Well, not really. I get hundreds. Okay, I get a call every once in awhile. Maybe two a year. But they are calls. And I get thousands of letters. Okay. I got two.
My favorite was a lady from California that wrote me a nice letter. Now, I don’t know many people from California. A couple ranchers and a team roper are about all I can recall. But somehow this lady got my column. In this letter she was a little critical. Well, very critical. She said, “If you were my husband, you’d either be divorced or dead!”
Boy, that hurt. That really hurt.
What got me to thinking about this is Shirley has a birthday coming up. I won’t say what number it is, but it is a big number.
I asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She replied, “A divorce!”
I told her I hadn’t planned on spending quite that much!
Not really. Just kidding. Don’t start calling. It was a joke a rodeo clown told the other day.
And that got me to thinking about other stories or acts some of the clowns we hired told or did.
One of my favorites happened at the Mandan Rodeo light years ago.
Steve Tomac was our clown and barrel man. He was always hilarious. And he usually a simple act or two he could throw in if you were having trouble and needed something to fill a little time. Maybe you were having trouble getting a bull in the chute, or the barrier was broken down. He would pick up that you were having trouble and no one would even notice.
He had a hat cleaning business. He would get a hat from someone in the crowd and take it down to his hat-cleaning machine. It was quite a production. But eventually he would turn the machine on, after secretly switching hats, and the entire machine would explode, destroying the hat!
The late Governor Art Link was in the grandstand. Governor Link had grown up during the dirty thirties. He was very frugal. Okay, he was tight. Steve saw him up in the grandstand and went up to the row where the Governor was sitting and took his brand new Stetson. I imagine it was a hundred dollar hat that spent most of its life in a cardboard box that seldom saw the light of day. Steve talked him out of is hat and assured him it would be better than new.
He took that wonderful Stetson down into the arena dirt. He poured arena sand on it. He took horse manure and rubbed on that hat. He jumped up and down it. He put it in the hat-cleaning machine. The only thing he didn’t do was switch the hat.
When that machine exploded, parts of that $100 Stetson were blown all over the arena!
The crowd had a wonderful laugh and Governor Link got a new hat for the Fourth of July!
Dean Meyer is an area rancher and former North Dakota State Senator. His ‘Hat Tips’ column can be found in papers all across the state.
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